Permanent Interests

Permanent Interests by James Bruno Read Free Book Online

Book: Permanent Interests by James Bruno Read Free Book Online
Authors: James Bruno
Tags: Fiction, General, Mystery Fiction, Political
things."
    "Yes, I heard. Good move to hire young soldier to handle security."
    Yakov always had solid information, excellent sources.
    Invariably, he knew who was doing what to whom, who was doing well and who not, and why; who was sleeping with whom. This inside knowledge on the part of a relative newcomer spooked Al and imbued in him an element of mistrust toward his slick foreign friend. Yakov placed both hands on the table, leaned forward, looked side-to-side, then unsmilingly locked his eyes on Al's.
    "Al, I need that special information like we used to get before."
    44 JAMES
    BRUNO
    Al blinked as if sand had just blown in his face. He shifted uneasily, leaned forward inches from Yakov's face.
    "Look, in case you didn't know, what with all your secret sources, I'm trying to lay low. For all I know, the friggin'
    FBI may be listening to us through that goddamn coffee pot." Al's jugular and the veins in his temples pulsed.
    Sore subject, Yakov could see. Putting on an expression of concerned sympathy, he signaled for Al to calm down.
    He leaned back in his chair. Bags was instantly alert and jumpy, like a hunting dog at the surge of a flock of ducks.
    Yakov's two faceless flunkies barely stirred, yet monitored every move with hawk-like attention.
    A minute of tense silence followed. Yakov grinned and proceeded to dish out three hot blinis onto Al's plate.
    Extending his arm to it, Yakov commanded, "Eat. Best in Brighton Beach." He dug in with the table manners of a Visigoth. The others joined in.
    After three solid minutes of forks hitting plates and loud chewing, Yakov spoke up again.
    "Al, times are not so good. Both of us have problems.
    Good business requires good information. Contacts to pull strings to make things happen the way we want them. Six months ago, before your troubles, such information flowed like melted gold." Pointing to Al with an up-ended palm, and then back to himself, Yakov continued, "I help you and you help me. Things will get better for us both."
    Al looked at Yakov with non-committal eyes as he continued to eat, now more slowly.
    "My people, back home, they are ready, but they need important information, they need …" He searched his brain. "Green light. They need green light that is safe at this end."
    Al wiped his mouth roughly with a gray cloth napkin, briskly tongued loose food from his gums and cheeks and, PERMANENT INTERESTS
    45
    pointing to Yakov with his right index finger just above his dish, said, "Yakov, we've made a lot of money together.
    We make a good team. You know if I can do it, I will. But right now the time isn't right."
    Yakov listened attentively. Mama Boronova interrupted with amiable obliviousness to recommend her currant-covered cheesecake for dessert. Made it herself that very morning. Okay, we'll take five big slices, Yakov exclaimed in Russian without consulting the others.
    "I'll tell you what I'll do," Al went on. "Let me get back on my feet, get everything on track. Then, when I feel the heat is off, I'll reactivate some old contacts, make some calls, see what I can do. Right now though, I'm trying to bore the Feds to death."
    "Yes, okay." Yakov extended his right hand. The two shook in agreement.
    "Dimitrov here," Yakov gestured to a humorless flunky with a nasty scar that ran from the top of his forehead, across the left eye and down to the middle of his cheek.
    "He will be go-between with your people. Dimitrov is discreet. He is quiet. He will make sure that communications do not break down," Yakov added more as a veiled threat than a mere statement. Dimitrov's rugged face remained impassive, a granite mask.
    "Yeah, right. For the time being, have him call me direct. I'm sorting things out right now. Lots of personnel changes."
    After protests all around that they couldn't eat another morsel, the table of "business associates" attacked the cheesecake.
    46 JAMES
    BRUNO
    Al's paranoia about frequenting the same establishments went by the wayside when it came to

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